20110429 Pawlo’s Greatest Hits

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All Pawlo, All the Time
In this episode, I prolong my break from discussing things like nephilim, singularities, and the immortality of the soul in order to do what sitcoms do during writer’s strike:  a best-of/flashback show.  The size of our audience has really grown over the last year, so many of you have not heard of Pawlo Amerikanchuk.  In this show, our crack sound editor found and compiled all the interviews and phone-ins that we had with Pawlo.  I know you are going to enjoy it!

20090419 (Pascha) First Interview:
Phone interview with Pavlo Amerikanchuk.  Banjo?  That’s him.  Sing us a local paschal song.
Didn’t know Ukrainians ended up in Appalachia: where are you?
·   Secret location.  Autonomous Sich of Rusivka; capital of all Rus’ (worked for Russia; just keep saying it long enough) 
[treaty of pereslavl; Khmelynsky. 1654.  bad news.  not obeyed.  Swedes & Poles coming, Russia sent Cossacks everywhere, but did not defend Ukraine, so…]
Battle of Poltava (1709):  Ivan Mazepa & Zaparozhian Cossacks.  Old Sich destroyed.
[1st emigration]
(Carolinians/Karoliners: Charles 12th of Sweden: exiled  together to Bender (Mazepa died there; then Ch12 arrested and taken to Constantinople) 
[2nd emigration]
1734-1775 new sich.  Russia abolished the hetmenate in 1764, then destroyed the ZS in 1775.
Local culture.  Easy transition.  Swords for shotguns,  banduras for banjoes. 
Plus, there were Orthodox already here!  Local tradition has it that St. Maddock established an Orthodox monastery here, and St. Brendan came and rejuvenated it.  They were both trained by mentors who had themselves wandered through Cossack lands back in the golden years. 
Local history:
Our original wooden church burnt down in 1930.  Red Revenuers active.  Hide stuff in the vestry.  Fine until blind priest mistook gunpowder for incense.  Worse: Holy vaterka vat.  (“little water”).  Quite a baptism!  So now we all go to the empty Church.
Music: blend of local and old world traditions.  Happens on its own.  Don’t need to force it.
20090426 (Saint Thomas):  Q&A with Pawlo Amerikanchuk
Really baptize in moonshine?  Just joshin w/ your brain.  Urban Legend.  But interesting story: revenuers.  Might be allowed for sacramental use.  So Fr. Oleh added a “k” to VODA in Slavonic texs and ka to WATER in the English ones.  Never needed.  But after FO went too blind (and deaf) to serve, we got a new young priest.  Our first Russian priest: Nik (for Nikon, I think).  Young, straight from “seminary”, although I think he left seminary early on account of the war…  Anyways, he was very pious, but not all that well trained.  He really wanted to do everything well, so he served straight from the book.  This was fine (although it did lead to some silliness “Lord have mercy – thrice”), until his first Theophany.  No one cottoned on to the fact that he had followed the modified version of the service until that part in the blessing of waters where the triple candle is used to symbolize the coming of the Holy Spirit onto the water… the resulting Pentecost was truly awe-inspiring, and I have never seen so many people line up for seconds at the end of the service.
Well, that was only the beginning of the trouble: board meeting.  Fr. Nik brought up the need for new service books.  Starosta Hoover (Hoover?  He was really A Vacuum…), who had really enjoyed the new “traditional” way of celebrating objected.  A schism between those who wanted to use the texts Fr. Oleh had revised and updated texts to match normal usage was narrowly avoided: Fr. Nik offered to simply erase the extra k’s and ka’s from the books we had.  In order to mollify the Hooveriki, a second “local” blessing was added specifically for the blessing of the waterka.  For a couple of years it was done after the Theophany service was over; but it was soon moved to Pentacost to reflect the continuing use of the Tongues of Flame.  It has even led to another pious tradition according to which young men will spit flames out of their mouths.  The speaking of tongues afterwards is just so much urban legend: they really are just drunk.
Q:  Russian priest?  What about the purity of Ukrainian Orthodoxy.
Important thing is Orthodoxy.  Cossacks.  Tradition to defend it; we don’t have to defend it as much, so we really focus on practicing it.  Cossacks were always resourceful; more interested in the faith than nationalism.  Nationalism is important when it is under attack: here it is simply who we are.  Cossacks have also always been open to new blood: freedom and Orthodoxy.  Everything else is tertiary.  I know some have used the Cossack (and the broader Ukrainian) experience to call for ethnophilitism, but this is a perversion of the Gospel.  We are Cossacks regardless of where our priest happened to be born, or what kind of accent our Dyak has.  In fact, our language itself is an amalgam of tongues.  It is Ukrainian because it us who speak it, just as American is English remains English despite the variations that have developed between it and the Queen’s tongue.  We had a young man petition to join our sich a few years ago; but he wanted to change us.  He said that we were not Ukrainian enough; that we needed to join some new patriarchate in the motherland.  That we had allowed ourselves to become polluted by America and all the foreigners that had joined out sich.  We told him that if he wanted to join us, then he needed to read all of St. John Chrysostom’s homilies on the Pauline Epistles and pray the Daily Hours and sing the Liturgy with Fr. Viktor in the church every day for a month.  He refused this, arguing that he would not pray with or take Communion from Fr. Viktor because he was Russian and that he would not read St. John because he was Greek.  We gave him a copy of  the Holy Bible; a copy of St. Peter’s “Short Catechism”; and told him to come back when he was Christian.  I think he was disappointed that none of us accepted his guidance; evidently there are places where nationalism is placed above traditional order and Sacrament.  But not here in the Sich.  We are Orthodox.
20090510 (Paralytic):  Pawlo on History
Father just spoke to you about the use of history in bringing others closer to Christ.  This is the ONLY legitimate use of history (or economics, or agriculture, or music, or sports, etc.).  And all of our culture needs to resound with and reinforce this faith.  If you do this well, then every thing we do, from the most mundane to the obviously exalted, will be Mysterious (Sacramental) in that it moves us closer to Christ.  Lots of Orthodox realize this, but many fall into a trap: trying to reestablish the culture of a golden age.  They try to recreate the sacramental culture of bygone times.  This is almost heretical as it denies the continuing operation of the Holy Spirit.  We must continually and intentionally develop a living culture that leads us to Christ.
Our here in the Sich has changed a lot, but glory to God, it still leads us, our children, and all of our immigrants towards unity and perfection.  One of the early influences of change:  sich has always been about freedom.  runaway slaves.  part of the railroad.  most passed through, but some stayed.  they had their own culture and traditions.  they became part of us and us of them.  another thing has been the outside world.  especially through seasonal labor.  remittances.  exposure.  mostly makes us appreciate our simple, God-centered community.  but also allows us to bring in some of the better influences.  inexpensive books.  more recently, communication; solar, wind power.
Still our culture is most heavily informed by the cycles of life.  conception to death.  seasons of the year.  planting, harvesting, preparing, hunkering down.  morning, day, and night.  (less lighting – good).  reinforced and given its  proper spiritual context through the liturgical seasons of the church.  agrarian.  simple.  simple, but not stupid. 
20090712  Pawlo on the Rhythms of Life
Green with Pawlo “Zhitozelinko” Amerikanchuk:
Harmony with nature?  How do you know which parts to harmonize with?  Isn’t nature fallen?  Doesn’t it groan in sin?  Answer.  Last week was about light (vs. light pollution).  This week: sound.  Another thing you notice when travelling (Athos vs. NYC) is the noise.  Treat the background noise as accompaniment to your own music.  Don’t try to overpower it (loud music!), and don’t add to the randomness (TV’s, radios on at all times).  Conduct conversations face to face (rather than yelling).  I enjoy this most in rural areas, but my friends in the cities have convinced me that it is try there as well.  You can create your own sound-proof little fortress, then add your own background noise.  (might be necessary in some places).  But make sure you spend time learning the rhythms and harmonies around you.  Is this green?  Living green is about harmony and sanctification.  We are not saved alone.  I reckon keeping your stereos off/down will save some energy, but right now I am mainly interesting in helping listeners to think about their relationship with the environment in a new way.   Opening yourself up to the natural rhythms of light and sound can help.
20090728  Pawlo on Harmony
[Interview with Pawlo:  previous shows on adjusting to the rhythms of life by working with patterns of light/dark and the music around us.  This week?  Working in harmony with others.  Made for community.  Dyak, so I notice it in best in music.  Evrey voice has the potentiality of harmony.  The body of Christ cannot be divided.  Full expression in living community: chords, counterpoints, development of voices.  This can only be achieved by improving your potential while immersed within choir of all the saints; guided by the master conductor who is our head.  Practice on your own, but not to any end but to play with others.  Don’t pretend that notions of harmony and meter are relative: they are embedded within the very fabric of the world; another reminder of God’s love and plan for us.  Must learn to listen for that fundamental reality, as well as how it is being realized in the lives of the musicians around you.  We play duets and ensembles, not solos (even the solitary ascetics do).  Compare this to fallenness.  Noise.  Selfishness.  Music designed around relative harmonic rules.  Listen.  Love.  Play.  Dance.
Pawlo’s Final Appearance:  On Outhouses and the Need for Environmental Stewardship